Only few days in Cape town we don’t have time to waste. Our journey covers 6000km and the stops are closed, we meet Shaqir and Siviwe both local guides that were enthusiastic about our noble plan.
In only two days, alternately Shaqir and Siviwe take us to safe tourist centres in the CBD (Centre Business District), at the heart of the townships of African communities. We visit the Langa district, the first African community of the city. Here wealthy, poor, very poor and homeless people live side by side. We enter the alleys to find out where the less fortunate will gather to watch the World Cup matches; the pub in the area is a container but we avoid it, indeed today two teams from the South African league are playing (Pirates Vs Chaefs ) and it seems all too chaotic, (your life over a cigarette), we walk along the cabins looking for a quieter place, “perfect”, where they brew illegal home made beer; just what you need on a hot sunny day!
We enter a wooden hut, we can hardly see, in the darkness we can only just picture a group of men staring at the television, in the middle there is a circular black rock and in a corner there is a child sleeping peacefully. “The boys” are all very relaxed, some are a bit puzzled but they welcome us all the same. We are at Lady MUM TIBU: they make home brewed beer and people come here to watch the games. It costs 20 Rand (2EUR) for 2 litres of beer served in a tin can. Guests come in, sit down and put whatever they can on the rock in the middle of the room and when you reach 20, it’s time to have a toast….not! no, no toasts here… only a stare and for the first round, the “can” is passed around to the next person only after drinking a great mouthful, after that everyone can help themselves to it how they want….phenomenal!
An entire magazine wouldn’t contain enough space to describe even just one hour spent in this incredible city. A country rich of wonders that came out from the regime of racial segregation with a bloodless revolution thanks to Mandela, South Africa is a big and marvellous country. After many dark years, today it seems to be a fascinating laboratory of cultural integration, where, however, great contrast between the miserable townships of the coloured and black people and the neighbourhoods of the white people can still be seen.
This is only the beginning, our journey will take us from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and we shall travel along the famous Garden Route passing through the De Moop reserve with white dunes that reach the sea, to then travel up north east along the coast towards East London, Durban, until we reach Kruger National Park, one of the most famous parks on the planet. We will see a mosaic of people and microenvironments and the immense spaces of land and sea, which take your breath away like only a few places do, will be the background of our journey, the entire variety of the African fauna in its natural environment.
We will try to listen, learn and understand how a very ordinary tourist can turn his/her holiday into a unique and genuine experience, filling that Gap that often separates us from our destinations, to understand, discover, get to know and therefore respect them.
Reset… Stand by, same sun but another world, other people, light, colours and therefore other timetables, beats, and rhythm… Our ride is not ready yet… how can that be possible? : Don’t worry, no problem”, “no pressure”! Lesson number one: Take it easy…another rhythm, the rhythm of our hosts: …so, let’s get synchronized!